Monday, January 31, 2022

Know if Someone Else Will Own the Copyright in What Your Freelance Writer Creates; Lexology, January 27, 2022

Gordon Feinblatt LLC - Ned T. Himmelrich, Lexology; Know if Someone Else Will Own the Copyright in What Your Freelance Writer Creates

"Be sure to understand who owns the copyright when you hire someone to contribute to your project. If the person is also working for another entity, consider what rights that other principal may have. The situation may arise where a business wants to use the creative input of someone on a temporary or freelance basis, or wants to use the writer’s expertise for certain projects, but that person may be employed by someone else. The issue is that under the copyright principles of “work made for hire,” the employer, not the creator, owns anything created by an employee within the scope of his or her employment. If the creator is employed elsewhere and is providing any type of content which could be deemed within the scope of his or her employment, then the first employer, and not the second venture who is receiving the freelance help, may own the work created."

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Is Old Music Killing New Music?; The Atlantic, January 23, 2022

Ted Gioia, The Atlantic ; Is Old Music Killing New Music?

"A series of unfortunate events are conspiring to marginalize new music. The pandemic is one of these ugly facts, but hardly the only contributor to the growing crisis.

Consider these other trends:...

When a new song overcomes these obstacles and actually becomes a hit, the risk of copyright lawsuits is greater than ever before. The risks have increased enormously since the “Blurred Lines” jury decision of 2015, and the result is that additional cash gets transferred from today’s musicians to old (or deceased) artists.

Adding to the nightmare, dead musicians are now coming back to life in virtual form—via holograms and “deepfake” music—making it all the harder for young, living artists to compete in the marketplace."

Massive open index of scholarly papers launches; Nature, January 24, 2022

Dalmeet Singh Chawla , Nature; Massive open index of scholarly papers launches

"An ambitious free index of more than 200 million scientific documents that catalogues publication sources, author information and research topics, has been launched.

The index, called OpenAlex after the ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt, also aims to chart connections between these data points to create a comprehensive, interlinked database of the global research system, say its founders. The database, which launched on 3 January, is a replacement for Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG), a free alternative to subscription-based platforms such as Scopus, Dimensions and Web of Science that was discontinued at the end of 2021."

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Stephen G. Breyer may shape tech’s copyright battles for years to come; The Washington Post, January 27, 2022

Cristiano Lima with research by Aaron Schaffer, The Washington Post; Stephen G. Breyer may shape tech’s copyright battles for years to come

"Stephen G. Breyer may shape tech’s copyright battles for years to come

With the looming retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, tech policy wonks say the high court is losing one of the nation’s preeminent thought leaders on intellectual property and copyright.

But while Breyer may be on his way out of federal court, his influence over those standards, and how they map onto emerging technologies, is poised to live on long after.

For decades, Breyer has carved out a unique role on the bench as a copyright specialist, said Meredith Rose, senior policy counsel at consumer group Public Knowledge. And his advocacy for a more limited view of intellectual property rights than some of his colleagues, such as the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, made him a “rarity” in the space, Rose said. 

“He’s definitely got the biggest depth of experience in copyright issues on the bench currently,” she said. “It was really him and Justice Ginsburg were the two titans of copyright.”

Corynne McSherry, legal director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called Breyer “a very strong voice for a balanced intellectual property system” that ensured that copyright and patents are “encouraging innovation, encouraging new creativity … as opposed to thwarting it.”

These traits, they said, were exemplified in one of Breyer’s most recent high-profile copyright cases: the contentious, decade-long Google v. Oracle bout."

Monday, January 24, 2022

Aboriginal flag copyright transferred to Commonwealth, as artist agrees to make flag freely available to all; ABC News, January 24, 2022

Jake Evans, ABC News; Aboriginal flag copyright transferred to Commonwealth, as artist agrees to make flag freely available to all

"The iconic flag that has become a symbol of Aboriginal Australia is now freely available for public use, after its designer agreed to transfer copyright to the Commonwealth following long negotiations.

Luritja artist Harold Thomas created the flag in 1970 to represent Aboriginal people and their connection to the land, and it has been an official national flag since the end of the last century — but its copyright remained with Mr Thomas.

Anyone who wanted to use the flag legally had to ask permission or pay a fee.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt said following negotiations with Mr Thomas, the flag now belonged to all Australians...

Copyright issues with the flag had repeatedly drawn conflict, such as when Mr Thomas handed the rights to use the flag on clothing to a non-Indigenous company, which later threatened legal action against the NRL and AFL for using the flag on player uniforms.

That led to Mr Wyatt encouraging football fans to drape themselves in the Aboriginal flag in protest.

Mr Thomas will retain moral rights over the flag, but has agreed to give up copyright in return for all future royalties the Commonwealth receives from flag sales to be put towards the ongoing work of NAIDOC.

The government has also agreed to establish an annual scholarship in Mr Thomas's honour worth $100,000 for Indigenous students to develop skills in leadership, and to create an online history and education portal for the flag."

Thursday, January 20, 2022

2022–2026 Strategic Plan: Fostering Creativity and Enriching Culture; U.S. Copyright Office, January 20, 2022

U.S. Copyright Office; 2022–2026 Strategic Plan: Fostering Creativity and Enriching Culture

"The Copyright Office has released its 2022–2026 Strategic Plan: Fostering Creativity and Enriching Culture. The plan seeks to benefit the public by expanding the Office’s outreach, improving integration of data and technology, and continuing to provide expertise to the copyright community as a whole.

For more information about the strategic plan, download or view the complete document here."

Monday, January 17, 2022

Lego sued over leather jacket worn by toy Antoni in Queer Eye set; The Guardian, January 16, 2022

, The Guardian; Lego sued over leather jacket worn by toy Antoni in Queer Eye set

"An artist has accused Lego of recreating a leather jacket he made for Queer Eye cast-member Antoni Porowski without the artist’s permission, claiming that a toy jacket included in a Lego set based on the Netflix show is a “blatant copy” of his design.

James Concannon, whose clothes have been regularly worn by Porowski on the popular program, filed a lawsuit against the Danish toy giant in a Connecticut district court last month. The designer, who is seeking damages, alleges that one of the outfits included in the set for Porowski’s figurine copies “the unique placement, coordination, and arrangement of the individual artistic elements” on the jacket."

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Texas scientists’ new Covid-19 vaccine is cheaper, easier to make and patent-free; The Guardian, January 15, 2022

 , The Guardian; Texas scientists’ new Covid-19 vaccine is cheaper, easier to make and patent-free

"Although more than 60 other vaccines are in development using the same technology, Bottazzi said their vaccine is unique because they do not intend to patent it, allowing anyone with the capacity to reproduce it...

“Pretty much anybody that can make hepatitis B vaccines or has the capacity to produce microbial-based protein like bacteria or yeast, can replicate what we do,” Bottazzi said.

Patent wars over mRNA vaccines have recently heated up. Moderna and the National Institutes of Health are in a dispute over who should get credit for specific discoveries that led to a Covid-19 vaccine which has been delivered to more than 73 million Americans. If Moderna is found to have infringed on the federal government’s patent, it could be forced to pay more than $1bn.

At the same time, activists have called for Pfizer and Moderna to share the technology and knowhow for producing their vaccines, including taking the fight to the World Trade Organization."

Monday, January 10, 2022

The Epic Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes; The New York Times, January 3, 2022

 David Streitfeld. The New York Times; The Epic Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes

In Silicon Valley’s world of make-believe, the philosophy of “fake it until you make it” finally gets its comeuppance

"Whenever anyone — a regulator, an investor, a reporter — wanted to know a little more about exactly how the Theranos machines functioned, the company cried “trade secrets.” The real secret, of course, was that Theranos didn’t have any trade secrets because its machines didn’t work. But her answer worked for a long time."

Sunday, January 9, 2022

President Biden, creatives need copyright champions in the federal government ; The Hill, January 7, 2022


RUTH VITALE, The Hill; President Biden, creatives need copyright champions in the federal government 

"The copyright industries bring not only cultural but also economic prosperity to our country. They contribute $1.5 trillion per year of value to the U.S. GDP, accounting for 7.41 percent of the national economy. U.S. copyright products sold overseas amounted to nearly $219 billion in sales in 2019 – more than other major industries including pharmaceuticals, aerospace, and agriculture. 

President Biden has personally demonstrated long-standing support for the creative industries. As a senator 20 years ago, he convened a hearing called “Theft of American Intellectual Property: Fighting Crime Abroad and at Home.” As vice president, over 10 years ago, he helped to implement a new law that created the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. Unequivocally, he stated, “Piracy is theft. Clean and simple.”...

Infringing content draws users to platforms, helping to fuel BigTech’s ascent to previously inconceivable heights of wealth. Meanwhile, digital pirates are stealing the rightful earnings of hard-working Americans, facilitated by Big Tech. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that digital piracy takes between $29.2 billion and $71 billion from the national economy every year. It also takes away between 230,000 and 560,000 American jobs...

I remain hopeful that President Biden’s future appointments will better reflect his lengthy and strong record in support of respect for copyright. Specifically, the position of U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) is open once again.  

As the president knows better than anyone else, the person serving in the IPEC’s role oversees Executive Office efforts to curb piracy, domestically and abroad. The previous IPEC was confirmed by the Senate in August of 2017 – today, during a critical moment for the creative communities, the position is vacant."

Friday, January 7, 2022

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex to receive confidential sum from UK newspaper for copyright infringement; CNN, January 5, 2022

Niamh Kennedy, CNN; Meghan, Duchess of Sussex to receive confidential sum from UK newspaper for copyright infringement

"The court found ANL infringed Meghan's copyright by publishing extracts of a handwritten letter she sent to her father in The Mail on Sunday newspaper and Mail Online website during hearings in January and May last year, the court order says.

The group is also set to pay the duchess £1 in nominal damages for misuse of private information, according to the court order.

On December 2, the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that ANL had misused Meghan's private information through their publication of the letter, saying the Duchess had "had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the letter.""

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Ryan Reynolds taunts Disney with ‘Winnie-the-Screwed’ ad as copyright battles heat up; Fast Company, January 3, 2022

JEFF BEER, Fast Company; Ryan Reynolds taunts Disney with ‘Winnie-the-Screwed’ ad as copyright battles heat up

Mint Mobile finds a way to make the copyrights of a 1926 classic children’s tale about your cellular bill.

"The new Mint Mobile ad is typical Reynolds ad fare, quickly and creatively tapping into a broader cultural conversation for one of his brands. That cultural conversation, however, is only going to get louder, especially for Disney. While it is symbolic that the original Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, is up for public domain two years from now, more pressing are the copyright issues facing key Marvel characters this year.

As reported last fall, multiple former Marvel creators and their estates are challenging Disney with ongoing copyright termination cases around characters like Thor, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Dr. Strange. These cases, which could go as high as the Supreme Court (as it almost did back in 2014, when the company reached a settlement with the estate of Jack Kirby), stem from the Copyright Revision Act of 1976, which provided an opportunity for authors or their heirs to regain ownership of a product after a given number of years."

When Does Intellectual Property Expire?; Lexology, January 3, 2022

[Post #4,000, since blog began in 2008]

GHB Intellect, Lexology; When Does Intellectual Property Expire?

"Intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights, is not a tangible thing. These assets do not all last forever, and in some cases, they need to be maintained in order to remain something that can be protected under IP. Understanding the terms of these assets is very important if you are going to protect an asset and be able to enforce that protection."

Our View: Copyright absurdity must come to an end; Leader-Telegram, January 4, 2022

Leader-Telegram; Our View: Copyright absurdity must come to an end

"It’s far easier to argue that today’s copyright laws are largely beneficial to corporations who don’t want the money from the merchandising spigot turned off. Those companies are the true beneficiaries of 95-year coverage.

Protecting authors and creators is one thing. Ad infinitum extensions for wealthy corporate interests are quite another. It’s time to end this nonsense. We’re not advocating a rollback of the current terms, but we do oppose further extensions.

Absurd laws create contempt for all laws, and the absurdity of the current copyright approach is clear. It should not be compounded."

Marvel Runs Into Copyright Issue, Forced to Change Villain Name;, January 4, 2022

Rebekah Barton, ; Marvel Runs Into Copyright Issue, Forced to Change Villain Name

"Now, however, fans have noticed something strange (no pun intended) about a recent merchandise leak. A new LEGO set for the Doctor Strange (2016) sequel seemingly features the Marvel Comics villain known as Shuma-Gorath.

However, in this case, the box art suggests that the tentacled creature will go by the name of Gargantos.

This seemingly pointless name change frustrated some fans on social media, but it seems that there may be a very good explanation that has to do with copyright law. As Twitter user @UpToTASK noted:

After doing some research on ̶G̵a̵r̵g̵a̵n̵t̵o̵s̵/Shuma-Gorath, I get it but I hate it. The name “Shuma-Gorath” was first created by Robert E. Howard for Conan [Conan the Barbarian]. And yea, that’s a WHOLE problem that can be avoided by simply changing the name. UGH that SUCKS. But at least it’s him?"

Column: ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ (born 1926) is finally in the public domain, a reminder that our copyright system is absurd; Los Angeles Times, January 3, 2022

MICHAEL HILTZIK, Los Angeles Times; Column: ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ (born 1926) is finally in the public domain, a reminder that our copyright system is absurd

"As it happens, however, this massive release isn’t something entirely worth celebrating. Instead, it’s a pointer to the sheer absurdity of American copyright law, which long ago came under the thumb of the entertainment industry and distant heirs of artists determined to preserve what is essentially a windfall."

Monday, January 3, 2022

Ryan Reynolds Takes Advantage of Winnie-the-Pooh's Public Domain Status for Mint Mobile Ad;, January 3, 2021

Kellie Lacey,; Ryan Reynolds Takes Advantage of Winnie-the-Pooh's Public Domain Status for Mint Mobile Ad

With A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh now in the public domain, Deadpool's Ryan Reynolds wastes no time making his own version to promote Mint Mobile.

"In a short video, Reynolds introduces the tale of "Winnie-the-Screwed" and his big wireless bill...

United States copyright laws typically come with a 95-year shelf life on published works, and as of Jan. 1, both Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne and Felix Saten's Bambi, a Life in the Woods became public domain. This is why Reynolds' video can adhere so closely to the original without fear of legal action."

Sunday, January 2, 2022

This Bear’s For You! (Or, Is It?) Can Companies Use Copyright and Trademark To Claim Rights to Public Domain Works?; Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain

Jennifer Jenkins, Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public DomainThis Bear’s For You! (Or, Is It?)

Can Companies Use Copyright and Trademark To Claim Rights to Public Domain Works?

"The original Winnie-the-Pooh book from 1926 is in the public domain. However, Disney still owns copyrights over later works, and trademark rights for “Winnie the Pooh” on a variety of products. Hopefully they will not follow the example of the Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, or Zorro rights holders and try to use residual rights to prevent what copyright expiation allows. This could lead to unnecessary litigation, and even the threat of lawsuits could chill the creative reuse the public domain is designed to promote.

In fact, Disney’s own beloved works show just how valuable the public domain is. Many of its animated classics were remakes of public domain books and folk tales. Works from Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens, Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve, Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll, The Brothers Grimm, Victor Hugo, Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Anderson, Carlo Collodi, Mark Twain, English folklore, and The Book of One Thousand and One Nights fed Disney’s The Three MuskateersA Christmas CarolBeauty and the BeastAround the World in 80 DaysAlice in WonderlandSnow WhiteThe Hunchback of Notre DameSleeping Beauty and CinderellaThe Little MermaidPinocchioHuck FinnRobin Hood, and Aladdin, to name a few. When it got into a dispute with the rightsholders of Bambi, Disney even filed an unsuccessful lawsuit claiming that the book had gone into the public domain much earlier. Let us hope that Disney remembers its own debt to the public domain when Pooh, and later the Steamboat Willie version of Mickey Mouse, enter the realm from which it has drawn so heavily!"

January 1, 2022, is Public Domain Day: Works from 1926 are open to all, as is a cornucopia of recorded music: an estimated 400,000 sound recordings from before 1923!; Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain,

Jennifer Jenkins, Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain; January 1, 2022, is Public Domain Day: Works from 1926 are open to all, as is a cornucopia of recorded music: an estimated 400,000 sound recordings from before 1923!

"On January 1, 2022, copyrighted works from 1926 will enter the US public domain, 1  where they will be free for all to copy, share, and build upon. The line-up this year is stunning. It includes books such as A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, Felix Salten’s Bambi, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Langston Hughes’ The Weary Blues, and Dorothy Parker’s Enough Rope. There are scores of silent films—including titles featuring Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and Greta Garbo, famous Broadway songs, and well-known jazz standards. But that’s not all. In 2022 we get a bonus: an estimated 400,000 sound recordings from before 1923 2  will be entering the public domain too! (Please note that this site is only about US law; the copyright terms in other countries are different.)

In 2022, the public domain will welcome a lot of “firsts”: the first Winnie-the-Poohbook from A. A. Milne, the first published novels from Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner, the first books of poems from Langston Hughes and Dorothy Parker. What’s more, for the first time ever, thanks to a 2018 law called the Music Modernization Act, a special category of works—sound recordings—will finally begin to join other works in the public domain. On January 1 2022, the gates will open for all of the recordings that have been waiting in the wings. Decades of recordings made from the advent of sound recording technology through the end of 1922—estimated at some 400,000 works—will be open for legal reuse."

‘Pooh,’ ‘Sun Also Rises’ among works going public in 2022; Associated Press, December 31, 2022

 Associated Press; ‘Pooh,’ ‘Sun Also Rises’ among works going public in 2022

"“Winnie the Pooh” and “The Sun Also Rises” are going public. 

A.A. Milne’s beloved children’s book and Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel, along with films starring Buster Keaton and Greta Garbo are among the works from 1926 whose copyrights will expire Saturday, putting them in the public domain as the calendar flips to 2022. 

Poetry collections “The Weary Blues” by Langston Hughes and “Enough Rope” by Dorothy Parker will also turn 95 and enter the public domain under U.S. law. 

The silent films “Battling Butler” starring and directed by Buster Keaton, “The Temptress” starring Greta Garbo, “The Son of the Sheik” starring Rudolph Valentino, and “For Heaven’s Sake” starring Harold Lloyd are also becoming public property. 

And under 2018 legislation by Congress, sound recordings from the earliest area of electronic audio will become available."

Disney could lose the copyright to some very important characters; WKRC, January 1, 2022

WKRC; Disney could lose the copyright to some very important characters

"Disney is at risk of losing the copyright to some of its most important -- and lucrative -- characters."

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Intellectual property in a post-pandemic future part I - The world has become more IP-intensive; Lexology, December 31, 2021

Bird & Bird LLP, Lexology; Intellectual property in a post-pandemic future part I - The world has become more IP-intensive

"The coronavirus pandemic surprised the world a couple of years ago and forced people to adapt to exceptional circumstances. At the start of this series of articles, the return to the “new normal” has already been canceled once due to the omicron variant, and the old saying about the certainty of change feels very concrete.

A great deal has also happened in the field of intellectual property assets during the pandemic. I will discuss these, perhaps to some degree surprising, changes in the following series of articles, the first part of which concerns IP protection activity and its effects during the coronavirus era. In the second part, I will proceed to address the IP cultures of businesses which are nowadays seen as an increasingly significant part of the IP strategies of corporations. The third and final section of the series is dedicated to IP issues regarding sustainable development. All the themes mentioned show that even in the field of IP rights, only change is permanent and succeeding in a changing IP field requires companies to adapt a considerably more active and conscious frame of mind."